Four Things Writers Can Stop Stressing About Right Now
Writers are an insecure bunch. We worry about pretty much everything.
Am I wrong? Show me a writer who is totally confident all the time. Can you find one who doesn’t worry that her next book will flop or who cheers when he gets a one-star review? I can’t.
Much as we’d like to think we’re unique, we’re not. Most of us stress out and obsess about the same things.
So writers (and you who love us and put up with our special brand of crazy, and you who don’t write, but still have that niggling feeling that something else is out there), here are a few things I absolve you of responsibility for.
Am I good enough?
Of course not. No one is ever “good enough.”
Now, before you run away and hide in a corner under a blanket and cry (or is that just me?), hear me out.
If we were actually good enough, then there’d be nowhere to go. We’d stop learning and growing.
We’d never feel that awesome achievement of trying something we aren’t really sure we can pull off and then knocking it out of the park.
So no, you’re not good enough. But you are good enough to get started.
What if I fail?
What if you don’t? Unless you’re trying to write a comprehensive guide about how to perform brain surgery, your failure probably isn’t going to result in someone’s death.
This is my favorite thing about writing. Words have power, but they’re also just words. What other career can you choose where you can just think up a new name and start over if you fail so epically that you can’t continue on?
Does that mean we’ll fail sometimes? Of course it does. Nothing worth doing is easy. See Point Number One.
I don’t know enough.
Meh. Neither do I.
For a lot of writers, technology is a big hangup. I used to be a geek, so I probably know a little more than the average bear. But not that much.
I don’t understand what makes it all work or how to fix it. When something goes wrong, I find smart people to help me. I turn to the community of writers I hang out with to help me.
This goes for anything, really.
Whatever you want to do, you’re not in it alone. Someone else knows what you need and is willing to share it. Even if that someone is just Google.
I don’t have time.
(If you’re not a writer, replace “write” in this section with “exercise” or “study to be a brain surgeon” or “brew beer.” Except please don’t brew beer while you’re on the toilet.)
It sounds crazy, but people with full-time jobs and a house full of kids in every activity possible still find time to write three novels a year.
Do you have time to play Candy Crush or Clash of Clans or whatever game is the thing now? Then quit bitching and write.
Do you wait forever in lines? Do you read trashy romance novels at lunch? I won’t judge your reading habits…but maybe instead, you could use some of that time to read an article or do a 15-minute writing exercise.
Do you sleep? Get up 30 minutes earlier and write 500 words. Every. Day. You’ll have a novel drafted in three months.
Do you have time to go to the bathroom? Write on your phone while you sit on the toilet. (I’m not kidding.)
Whatever it is you want to get better at, you do not need hours of uninterrupted time sitting in a cabin by the lake to do it. You just need to do a little bit every day.
So let’s do this!
OK, I realize all this stuff is easier said than done. In fact, I still struggle with a lot of these, too.
But at some point or other in the last three years, I’ve managed to pull these things off for long enough that I know they work.
You can make changes. Whether it’s to write or cut back some of life’s chaos or eat better…you can do it.
What do you struggle with or stress about? Share in the comments…
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I’m a writer, a recovering project manager, and a corporate refugee with a passion to share the lessons I've learned. I've worked with bestselling authors to launch nearly a million dollars' worth of books and online courses. I've seen what works (and what doesn't), and I know what it takes for a growing writer to get your work out and grow as you go.